Handbells in Boston

Photo by Nikki Cole

2023 Back Bay Ringers

Simon Dutton
Joined BBR: September 2023

Simon’s love of the handbells started in the 3rd grade, when he joined his central Floridian church’s handbell choir. After moving to Martha’s Vineyard in high school, he helped restart a handbell group there, additionally playing trios and quartets. He also rang/directed all four years in college, where he majored in music and computer science. He currently works at a dementia care facility, though is pursuing a career in software engineering. Simon is excited & honored to spend his first year in the BBR this season.

Marissa Gamache
Joined BBR: September 2023

Marissa began ringing in 4th grade and continued in her church and school bell choirs until college. At college, she enjoyed studying music composition and playing violin with the orchestra. Now, she spends her non-ringing time baking bread and working as an ESL curriculum writer.

Peter Grossmann
Bass Section Leader
Joined BBR: September 2013

Peter Grossmann has been ringing handbells for most of his adult life. In addition to ringing with BBR, he rings both handbells and tower bells with Christ Church Cambridge in Cambridge, MA. By day he designs microchips for Zero ASIC.

Sarah Hayes-Skelton
Joined BBR: September 2009

Sarah started ringing handbells in 2006 while she was living in Seattle. She also has rung with the Old South Ringers in Boston’s Copley Square. When not ringing, Sarah is a psychology professor at UMass Boston.

Ashley Hedberg
Joined BBR: September 2017

Ashley began ringing in 2001 as a third-grader at River Road Presbyterian Church in Richmond, VA. She continued ringing at Harvard-Epworth UMC while an engineering student at Tufts University; as of Fall 2023, she is also their handbell director. When not ringing, Ashley is a software engineer at Google and enjoys powerlifting, cooking, and dogs.

Jeff Johnson
Joined BBR: September 2023

Jeff began ringing handbells in elementary school, and following college has enjoyed ringing with several community groups in Northern California. He moved to Massachusetts in 2022 and is excited to be a part of the local handbell community. Jeff works as an HR manager and enjoys spending time with his husband, Sam, and long walks with his dog Wilco.

Emlee C. Kohler
Joined BBR: January 2019

Emlee has been ringing handbells since 1977. In addition to BBR, she has recently been a member of the Granite State Ringers, in Manchester, NH and Ringers-on-the-Square at the UCC in Keene, NH. Although now she primarily rings in the bass section, she also performs solos, duets, and in small ensembles. Emlee holds a PhD in Neuroscience, works as a psychology professor at Rivier University, Nashua, NH, and spends her non-ringing time with her husband, Howard.

Stephanie LaShoto-Westfield
Communications Director
Joined BBR: September 2012

Stephanie began ringing handbells in 7th grade at Moses Brown School in Providence, and has also rung on and off with the Old South Ringers at Old South Church in Boston since 2008. Professionally, Stephanie is a Workforce Development Specialist supporting employees of the Mass General Brigham hospital system and enjoys baking, hiking, jigsaw puzzles, and dogs!

Emily Lindquist
Joined BBR: September 2021

Emily began ringing handbells with her church choir in Topsfield, MA when she was in third grade. After a brief hiatus while in college, where she focused on playing her other instrument, the flute, she moved back to the Boston area and began ringing on and off with the handbell choir at Faith Lutheran Church in Andover and the Hancock Carillon in Lexington. Just like when she was in third grade, she happily rings alongside her mother, Susan Schultz. Emily is an education consultant at a small firm in Jamaica Plain.

Donna Matson
Joined BBR: September 2007

Donna started ringing in 1994, when her children began as well. She has played with Katonah Celebration Ringers and a community choir in Tokyo, Japan. She and her husband, Bill, are retired, and split their time happily between the South End and a peaceful lake in New Hampshire.

Austin McCredie
Joined BBR: September 2022

Austin is a masters student at Boston University School of Theology. Outside of school and bells he enjoys visiting cafes, reading books, and spending time with his cats, Smokey and Hazel.

Megan Mendenhall
Joined BBR: September 2023

Megan began ringing in the Smith College Handbell Choir in 2014. Since then, she has rung with the handbell choir at the First Congregational Church of West Tisbury on Martha’s Vineyard and with New England Ringers. Megan holds a Master of Arts in Teaching and currently teaches middle school students with Dyslexia. She enjoys sailing, contra dancing, hiking, and singing.

Sally Meredith
Joined BBR: January 2012

Sally began ringing (with poor technique!) in 1981, before some current BBR members were born! She rang with church groups in Illinois and Wisconsin, and was a founding member of Madison Area Concert Handbells in Madison, WI, where she learned good technique, in 1997. She moved to Massachusetts to be near a quartet of lovely, talented grandchildren.

Rachel Moore
Joined BBR: September 2018

Rachel began ringing in middle school at Trinity United Methodist Church in Springfield, MA. She attended Carleton College where she was often found conducting and ringing at the same time in a bell choir that never had enough members. When not ringing, Rachel works as a technical operations engineer.

Cade Murray
Executive Director
Joined BBR: September 2010

Previously, Cade rang with Bay Bells near San Francisco and a series of church choirs before that, stretching all the way back to his high school years in Florida. Cade has rung all over the table, doing solo, ensemble, and full choir ringing; though now finds himself primarily in the bass (punishment for being left-handed?). Cade left the world of high-tech startups to homeschool his two daughters, while his wife responsibly holds down a regular job so everyone can eat.

Anna Poplawski
Joined BBR: January 2013

Anna began ringing in 4th grade, and remained active in her church bell choir in Endicott, NY until she graduated from high school. She joined BBR in 2013 after a 20-year hiatus from bell-ringing. When not ringing, Anna works as a software developer and spends time on stage in musical theater productions.

Emily Schlosnagle
Joined BBR: September 2018

Emily’s love of handbells began in elementary school after her dad took over directing the church’s bell choir and she quickly realized that ringing is much more fun than doing homework during rehearsal. She continued ringing through college,as a member of the St. Olaf Handbell Choir. Emily is now a research project manager at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Susan Schultz
Operations Director
Joined BBR: September 2009

Susan’s musical training began as a child, studying and playing the violin through her college years. She began ringing handbells in 2003 with her three children at Trinity Episcopal Church of Topsfield, MA. In addition to ringing with BBR, Susan rings with the handbell choir at Faith Lutheran Church in Andover, MA, and with Hancock Carillon in Lexington, MA. Susan serves as both the Membership Chair and Registrar for the New England region (Area 1) of the Handbell Musicians of America. She is a frequent participant at Area 1, National, and International handbell events, and has had the privilege to ring at all HMA Distinctly Bronze events since 2014.

Erica Shaw
Joined BBR: September 2022

Erica has been ringing with BBR since fall 2022. She began ringing at South Church in Andover in high school, and now additionally rings with the Old South Ringers in Boston. She works as a structural engineer, and in her free time enjoys spending time with friends playing board games and playing with her cat, Cheddar.

Casey Spring
Joined BBR: September 2022

Hello! My name is Casey Spring and this is my second year as a BBR member! I have been playing bells for 15 years and look forward to the season ahead. I am currently in Law School at Boston University. I love spending time with my dogs and exploring Boston.

Greg Urban
Treble Section Leader
Joined BBR: September 2014

Greg grew up ringing in both school and church. He founded the Oregon State Handbell Choir in 2011, and began ringing with Bells of the Cascades in Portland, OR soon after. When he moved to Boston in 2014, he found BBR and hasn’t left! In January of 2021, Greg also began ringing with Sonos Handbell Ensemble out of Oakland, CA. He is also an avid arranger of pop music for handbells, including BBR-favorite All I Want for Christmas is You. Outside of bell ringing, Greg is a Trainer and Facilitator at Project Adventure, using a combination of games/initiatives, low ropes, and high ropes elements to develop group awareness, communication, and trust with people of all ages. He also enjoys finding new places to hang a hammock, board games, and eating his husband’s amazing cooking.

Adrianne Weir
Joined BBR: September 2003

Adrianne first rang at her parochial school in 6th grade (a fun fact is that the nun who directed the choir was actually her second cousin). She continued ringing in college at the University of Notre Dame. After moving to Boston, she joined the bell choir at Trinity Church in Copley Square, whose director was Griff Gall. When BBR began in 2003, Adrianne was at the first rehearsal. She is an architect, working for a small residential firm with a focus on renovating older homes.